Following months of planning and in time for the 2012 harvest, the Chabad of the Tri Valley and Mitchell Katz Winery are undertaking a joint venture in observance of the Jewish New Year, which begins this year at sundown next Sunday.
A Livermore Valley kosher wine is being produced at the Mitchell Katz Winery, which is donating the grapes, barrels, and all the equipment for this first production.
"We see ourselves as an integrated part of community life and we are happy to partner with the local Jewish community to produce a premier kosher wine", said Mitchell Katz, the winery owner.
Rabbi Raleigh Resnick of Chabad of the Tri Valley is providing the rabbinical supervision and overseeing the kosher production.
"I see this new project as a wonderful way of bringing together the local wine culture and the local Jewish community," Resnick said. "After all, the Jewish people probably have the oldest codified relationship to wine of any people on earth."
In Jewish tradition, wine is considered a holy beverage and an important part of many ceremonies. For this reason, the equipment is specially sterilized and the wine is handled and bottled in a very specific manner. Additionally, all ingredients and yeasts used in the process are certified kosher.
Daniel Kozak of Livermore, a member of the Jewish community with wine-making experience, has spearheaded the project and is coordinating the logistics.
"This inaugural year we hope to produce approximately 75 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon," Lozak said. "Once we see the process through to fruition, we can begin planning for future harvests."
Chabad is setting up a blog to engage the community in the kosher winemaking production. A community contest to name the wine also will be online.